Matt Monro was a British singer active from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s. He never had a number-one song. However, he did release several Top Ten hits in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, meaning he was far from being an unknown in his time. Monro has been dead for several decades. Even so, his music lives on.
Here is our opinion of the ten best Matt Monro songs ever released:
10. “Why Not Now?”
“Why Not Now?” was one of Monro’s earlier singles. As such, it is overshadowed by “Portrait of Love” and “My Kind of Girl,” which peaked much higher in the United Kingdom. Still, interested individuals should know “Why Not Now?” reached the number 24 position in that country. A performance made possible by it being a very enjoyable love song in its own right.
9. “On Days Like These”
One of the reasons that Monro is still remembered is his work on movie themes. For instance, he made “On Days Like These” for The Italian Job, one of the most iconic British movies of the 1960s. Interested individuals might not have seen the movie itself.
However, there is a non-zero chance they might have seen something inspired by it. One excellent example would be The Simpsons episode called “The Italian Bob,” which would be the one in which Sideshow Bob revealed that he had a new Italian family.
8. “For Mama”
Love is a common theme in Monro’s songs. That said, he didn’t always sing about romantic love. Given the name, chances are good interested individuals can guess “For Mama” is about familial love.
It is an unusual song from particular perspectives, not least because the narrator is middle-aged or beyond. We know this because he states his children are full-grown, meaning he has fulfilled his promise to his dying mother to take care of them.
The song has a particularly poignant end in which he muses that this seemed like such a small thing considering everything she did for him.
7. “Yesterday When I Was Young”
Speaking of which, “Yesterday When I Was Young” is another song from an older individual’s perspective. This isn’t the happiest of songs. The narrator makes it clear that he had numerous faults as a young man.
For example, he never took the pursuit of his dreams seriously, thus resulting in their failure. Similarly, he treated other people poorly, which is why everyone in his life eventually drifted away.
The passage of time means the narrator has become a much more sensible individual. Alas, even the wisest man can’t turn back the hands of the clock, meaning he is stuck paying for his younger self’s mistakes. Everyone has regrets, so it is easy for listeners to sympathize with this song when they are in the right mood.
6. “From Russia with Love”
The James Bond franchise is massive. As a result, being chosen to make one of its movie themes has been an incredible honor for a long time. That said, one could say Monro was one of the people who created that status.
After all, he made “From Russia with Love” for the movie of the same name, which was the second one of the franchise. Moreover, it is widely considered one of the best British movies ever made, so some of the shine has rubbed off on Monro’s song.
5. “Softly As I Leave You”
Monro is one of the artists who have covered “Softly As I Leave You.” Supposedly, a dying man penned the words while his wife was sleeping beside his bed. Unfortunately, we know that is something Elvis made up while performing in Las Vegas.
Regardless, “Softly As I Leave You” is a much-beloved song for excellent reasons. Monro’s version is remarkable for managing to hold its own considering that it has been covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Michael Buble.
4. “My Kind of Girl”
In 1961, Monro released “My Kind of Girl” as his second single. It became a Top Ten hit by reaching the number five position in the United Kingdom. Moreover, it managed a peak at the number 18 position in the United States, which was higher than what Frank Sinatra managed when he released a cover the next year. These successes made it clear that Monro wasn’t a one-hit wonder in an instant.
3. “Walk Away”
The original was the Austrian entry for Eurovision in 1964. Unsurprisingly, that was in German. Subsequently, several artists released covers in other languages. Monro’s version was notable in that it was a major success, as shown by how it reached the number four position in the United Kingdom.
2. “Born Free”
“Born Free” might be Monro’s best-known movie theme. That is because it won the Oscar for Best Original Song. Funny enough, that almost didn’t happen. As the story goes, “Born Free” wasn’t in the premiere of the movie of the same name because it had been edited out. Monro and one of the composers had to petition the producers to put it back in, thus making it eligible for the Oscar.
1. “Portrait of My Love”
“Portrait of My Love” was Monro’s debut single. Furthermore, it is the closest he ever came to scoring a number-one single. Sadly, that never happened because the song peaked at the number three position in the United Kingdom while failing to chart in other countries.
Even so, “Portrait of My Love” was Monro’s first hit, meaning it paved the way for everything that followed. Of course, it is also a cleverly-worded and pleasingly-composed love song that more than merits a position on this list.
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